Entries are now open for April 2020! The Winner will receive a super sleek silver Ballarat Writers pen.
APRIL 2020 PARAMETERS Prompt: Begin your piece with the words “The last thing I expected was…” Word Limit: 150 words, not including the title. Entries Close: 11.59pm Monday 20 April Voting Closes: 11.59pm Monday 27 April
HOW TO ENTER Send your work as a doc.x or pdf file attachment to an email to competitions @ ballaratwriters.com by midnight on Monday 20th April.
In the body of the email include your name, title of the entry and word count. See entry conditions for more information.
HOW TO VOTE Look out for the poll at the bottom of the blog post which contains all the entries. To be online on or near Tuesday 28th April.
Voting is now open and will close at 11.59pm on Tuesday 24th March. To vote, simply use the poll at the bottom of this blog post.
Theme: EVOLUTION Word Limit: 600 words
Entry 1 ‘Evolution‘
Foetus, almost spiral, grown, born. Small child wandering, learns to cross road, please, thank you i before e.
Family slips down slide, small child forgotten, discarded, smokes, drinks, here, now, hot weather singing, wide serpentine of her shrieks, begs.
Lost child passing.
Entry 2 ‘A Gardener Evolves‘
It had taken Hyacinth decades to feel confident in her gardening skills. Sitting back now, a fresh cuppa’ on the bench beside her, she let the gentle pulse of her surrounds take her back to that first, tiny, Carlton balcony.
The flat was almost totally in shade, south-facing and the pot of petunias only lasted a couple of weeks! She thought it might have been her plant selection, so her next foray saw a small red rose. It also failed to thrive!
But a lover led to a wedding, in turn leading to a bigger flat. A light-filled, ground floor unit that accessed a small patch of ‘dirt’. A tentative trial of roses, planted in the sunlight and, with Spring, big blousy blossoms! The nursery had suggested hellebores and aquilegia for the shaded parts of the garden, and, as Autumn softened the heat, they too flourished. Bulbs and a selection of herbs went into pots. She acknowledged her own, small triumphs with quiet satisfaction.
Children, a move out to suburban Nunawading, a small house with a tiny garden, followed. The kids helped dig the vegetable plot, and with the planting of apple, pear, apricot and plum trees. She smiled as she remembered the day that the small helpers weeded out the carrot, lettuce and zucchini seedlings!
A Vacola preserving kit arrived one birthday, and with Margaret Fulton’s benchtop guidance, she stewed apples and pears. She made pots of jam, chutney, sauces and pickles. Her pantry became quite a family ‘conversation-piece’, brought up in dispatches as a new, labelled preserve found its way onto the shelves.
The children sometimes complained about the ‘home-made’ garnishes, and overheard remarks between school-friends, in the backyard, confirmed a need to cut back the production line. There was also a none too subtle hint that her birthday and Christmas presents needed to change, too!
The children started to leave the nest. Where had the years gone? Grandchildren were playing under the large, overgrown fruit trees. More space might be helpful for the kids to play, more sunlight, particularly as the winter days were getting bleaker, nowadays.
There seemed to be not as many birds visiting the garden, except when the summer fruits were on offer! The exception were the blackbirds! People complained of their mulch-scraping habit, but she secretly thought it a small price to pay for their beautiful warbling.
Cancer took her partner prematurely; unexpectedly. A diagnosis, a few short months, and she was alone. She knew it was time to move.
She worked at a Kondo-declutter, restocking both the Salvos and Vinnies. She packed a few treasures, a shoebox of photos and moved to a delightful, two-bedroom cottage in Gippsland. A new start was on offer!
She had become a Peter Cundall devotee, forced latterly to follow that horribly-bearded Costa. She had lots of ideas and birds were going to be her gardening ‘thingy’. She drew up plans for lots of insect and bird-attracting natives. Swathes of Poa, Wallaby and Kangaroo grasses would combine with plantings of ground-hugging grevillea, callistemon, leptospermum, banksia and acacia. They would provide protective canopies for small wrens, finches, even the parrots. There would be shallow ponds for the frogs and lizards; maybe even a trickling fountain to provide an aural dimension. Each morning kookaburras were perching on the limbs of an old gum, and a family of currawongs were seen, busily fluttered through.
It took a few years, but the garden plantings worked. The birds had appreciatively taken up residence; nests were built, families raised.
Visiting grandchildren and the background chatter of the wildlife collectively endorsed Hyacinth’s gardening expertise!
Entry 3 ‘Pandemic’
The situation is dynamic Evolving Primordial fears bubbling up Catching in our throats Another day, another press conference We wait, unconvinced Everything is as clear as mud
Entry 4 ‘J Man’
I sat transfixed as they delved into the evolution of his career. I’d never bought a single album but I’d previously seen the interviewer, and he wasn’t like the rest.
Just like last time from the very start, it was raw and open. More like two friends privately chatting than an interview to be watched by millions. His popularity grew as quickly as social media did enabling millions of fans access into his life like never before. I quickly found myself enthralled by his uncommon honesty.
Before me sat a megastar of his time. Someone who could quite possibly sing the phone book and still make it to number one.
Before me also sat a man freely admitting his failings as a boy. I was literally not just metaphorically, on the edge of my seat. Here was someone who’s music I didn’t care for and yet he had my undivided attention.
As he opened up about making the choices he had in years gone by it became increasingly evident he wasn’t the same person. He had grown up with the whole world watching yet what did we really know about him?
His revelations of how hard he pushed himself were of no surprise. So many creative people can be perfectionists, which usually isn’t a healthy combination. From eating healthy to taking ice baths certainly isn’t the image the tabloids have portrayed over the years. I’ve previously struggled with the implications of being a semi-known personality. I don’t want to think of the impact being the most googled person on the planet could have on my mental health.
Hearing him share that having money doesn’t mean all your problems magically go away, rang true. Sure having more finances can give you easier access to getting assistance but it doesn’t inoculate you from feeling and thinking in broken ways, as we are all prone to do. Even working out how to live a healthy married life when his parents weren’t married or healthy is a process he is working through.
I still haven’t listened to his new album but I’m curious to discover the lyrics. His claims in the interview of no longer being selfish came across as very genuine. He spoke so lovingly of his new wife. His admission of not being with her until he could be the man she deserved was certainly more revealing than what was needed to sell units.
Even more intriguing were his repeated and very natural references to the difference Jesus had made in his life. Not just a thank you at the end of an acceptance speech but references interwoven throughout the conversation like his decision to follow Jesus was as natural to him now as breathing.
Sadly the examples of Jesus he had growing up were a poor reflection of who he truly is, and naturally this gave him a twisted perspective. From being self-destructive to now laying aside his own desires to live for someone else is definitely a sign of a changed person. Hearing him saying loving someone is a daily decision to lay aside one’s own selfish desires for another had me feeling inspired that there was hope for humanity.
Naming his new album changes I’m curious to listen and discover what he has to say after taking a step back for the last few years. For an interview that lasted nearly an hour very little time was spent talking about the new album. It was a very free-flowing discussion about life and I feel my life has been enriched having listened to it.
Ballarat Flash Fiction has a new lease on life for 2020!
Now just BALLARAT FLASH, the competition is now accepting entries of all forms – poetry, prose, creative non-fiction, non-fiction as well as fiction of course.
Entries are now open for March 2020! The Winner will receive a super sleek silver Ballarat Writers pen.
MARCH 2020 PARAMETERS Theme: EVOLUTION Word Limit: 600 words, not including the title. Entries Close: 11.59pm Monday 16 March Voting Closes: 11.59pm Monday 24 March
HOW TO ENTER Send your work as a doc.x or pdf file attachment to an email to competitions @ ballaratwriters.com by the specified date each month. In the body of the email include your name, title of the entry and word count.